RACING’S first lady Gai Waterhouse is entering politics — backing Premier and Racing Minister Denis Napthine.
Waterhouse will be a special guest at a Liberal Party fund-raiser for Dr Napthine’s re-election campaign during next year’s Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.
The South West Coast MP has secured Waterhouse for the cocktail function, to be held on the middle day of the carnival in Warrnambool. It will draw high-profile dignitaries and local business identities.
Dr Napthine said he was excited Waterhouse would attend the two-hour function, which will be held following the last race on April 30.
“I’m grateful for Gai and her husband Robbie that they have indicated they will be at the fund-raiser,” Dr Napthine said.
“Gai is a household name not only for her deeds in racing but Australia-wide. Gai is a very charismatic person. She has the ability to mix with people at all levels.
“I’m sure the people who attend the function will have a wonderful evening. I felt it was a good idea to hold the fund-raiser at the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival as it showcases everything that racing offers.”
Waterhouse, who saddles up the favourite Fiorente in next Tuesday’s $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, said she was delighted to be asked to the function.
“Denis has done a wonderful job since he took up the roles of Premier and the Racing Minister,” she said.
“He is passionate about his racing, which is great for everyone who is involved in the sport.
“I was surprised but delighted when I was asked if Robbie and I would attend the function.
‘‘It’s a great honour that Denis wants us at the event.”
Waterhouse was a first-time visitor to this year’s Warrnambool May Carnival and fell in love with the relaxed family atmosphere of the event.
Warrnambool Racing Club’s committee has approved the function being held in the biggest marquee on the course.
WRC chairman Des Roberts said it was wonderful Dr Napthine wanted to host the function at the carnival.
“Denis has been a breath of fresh air to racing in this state since he got into power,” he said.
‘‘He helped save our carnival.
‘‘He’s passionate about jumps racing which is the cornerstone of our carnival.
“It’s an added bonus that Gai has indicated she will be one of the guests at the function.